Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Dumber than a Bag of Hammers




Nice to know that our education system is in such good hands.  We can thank Rep. Jared Huffman for that colorful tweet, as he reflected the opinion of many after Betsy DeVos' painful interview on 60 Minutes.  Maybe the White House lawyers should have blocked this interview from airing on national television instead of being so worried about Stormy Daniels.

Of course, Betsy didn't fair much better at her Senate hearing last year, but Republican Congressmen OK'ed her just the same, with the help of their sixth man, Mike Pence.  Murkowski and Collins voted against her.  She's made a fool of herself time and again, from misspelling W.E.B. DuBois to a tweet riddled with grammatical errors, which she later passed off on her staff.  Worst of all, she made no attempt to reach out to the students of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, when she had the chance to ease their anxieties over the mass shooting last month.  But, this interview may have been the last straw as there is nothing Trump hates more than to be made look stupid, and that is exactly what Betsy DuVos (sic) did.

Of course, one could argue that his entire cabinet is dumber than a sack of hammers, having members like Betsy, Ben and Rick.  In their rare statements, they actually make Donald Trump look smart by comparison.  This may explain why he let go of Rex Tillerson this weekend, as he might have had a hard time beating the former Secretary of State in an IQ test.  Trump never likes to be challenged.

This has resulted in a cabinet that is far and away from the "best and brightest" that Trump promised on the campaign trail.  Most had little or no experience in regard to the titles they assumed.  Rick Perry had vowed to get rid of the Dept. of Energy all together if he was elected President, and here he is now its Secretary.  A man Trump openly ridiculed on the campaign trail for being dumb.

Betsy was supposed to be a little brighter and had been involved in setting up a charter school in Chicago, so it was assumed she had some experience in education.  But, she has time and again revealed her ignorance on the subject.  You could see her literally shrinking when former Sen. Al Franken challenged her knowledge in the Senate, like a student not ready for a pop quiz.

The White House will greatly limit her public engagements after this fiasco, but you have to wonder why they ever allowed such an interview to take place.  She has fared horribly under scrutiny, even the mildest form as Leslie Stahl did not ask her very tough questions.  It seems her only role is to keep the seat warm, while his budget director, Mick "the Knife" Mulvaney seeks to pare down the department to the bare minimum.  Republicans would love nothing more than to get rid of the Department of Education all together, leaving education entirely in state and local hands.

We are all appalled by Betsy's dull performance, but when you have a blunt-headed President, who treats his cabinet like Celebrity Apprentice, what can you expect?  The only thing you can somewhat admire is the honesty of Ben Carson for at least admitting he knew nothing about Housing and Urban Development, but then he turned this into a callous view of public awareness that seems to be the only "experience" you need to be a member of Trump's cabinet.

Betsy DeVos is equally callous, judging by the way she dismissed the students of Parkland, Florida.  For her, public schools are like an infectious disease and the only answer is more charter schools, which haven't turned out to be the panacea described in such documentaries as Waiting for Superman.  If Trump really wanted someone who would have promoted this vision, he should have picked Michelle Rhee, who is a far more articulate advocate than Betsy DeVos.


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